It is not leadership that is going on in our political system. There hasn’t been leadership in a very long time. Neither party has led our nation and its people.
For leadership is not the exercise of power just because we can and will, or to strive to get what we want no matter who it hurts.
Leadership is leading with a moral compass.
Leadership is leading one’s self in alignment with one’s core values and purpose, in terms of compassion, honesty, transparency, respect and dare I say it…. Love.
Leadership is having the strength and courage not to use your great power and instead work with people of all opinions and beliefs in such a way that they work out issues together, because they choose to.
Leadership is being able to empower people to solve their issues and to create what each knows needs to be done.
Leadership is being able to embolden and empower people in a way that when they are finished they look up with respect for each other and say, “look what we have done together!”
Leadership is not taking the credit but accepting the blame.
Leadership is not telling half-truths but full truths, through hard research and critical thinking.
Leadership is being open to different ways of solving the problems at hand and knowing that “my way may not be correct”.
Leadership is putting the people first and doing what is right despite of any political fallout.
Leadership is recognizing the huge amount that is not known, being open to the idea that 'I might be wrong’ and being OK with that.
You want leadership? You can’t find it right now in Congress, or in many of our state legislatures. Leadership comes from the inside out and is filled with spiritual power and the power of the mind. It is not pro any one ideology or political party or individual.
Leadership is that which commands respect for what is said and done. Leadership is accountable.
It is passing a continuing resolution and later taking care of the debt ceiling issue. It is doing what needs to be done to pay our bills and protect Americans when the time comes. It is putting budget safety nets in place and implementing them to protect our country and everyone within.
After doing the above, members of Congress can go back to blaming each other, screaming at each other and continuing to say untruths and pass them off as truths, if they wish. But let us not confuse this with leadership. This has nothing to do with leadership. This is simply unacceptable behavior by any norm trying to wrap itself around the mantra of leadership.
Call me naive, God knows many have. But deep down I know that when we lead ourselves and help others to lead from their core values and at the same time find and follow the path of their own personal purpose; the world is and will be a much better place.
I believe that leadership as defined above starts with us and it has to start now. And right now Congress needs to stop hurting people, pass a clean continuing resolution and then fight away on policy until Americans deem it fit to elect leaders who truly know and respect leadership for what it truly is.
Sadly, what we are witnessing right now are just individuals with positions of authority pretending to be leaders. It is an illusion.
David Bernard Stevens is the former executive director of the North Platte Chamber of Commerce. He currently is the CEO of a leadership company in Kenya, Africa, developing leaders by learning to lead oneself, then leading with others to create sustainable organizations, businesses, groups, families, communities and ultimately, a sustainable world, he told the Bulletin.
First published during the government shutdown in the Bulletin's Oct. 9 print edition.